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Document 3 to read before answering Question 3


  • The massive growth of the human population and the great intensification of resources and energy use by human society are unsustainable ecologically. If present trends continue unabated the collapse of civilisation is inevitable.

  • There are also other highly unsatisfactory features of the human situation today, like the major disparities in health and conditions of life across different socio-economic groups and the existence of thousands of weapons of mass destruction.

  • The best hope for the survival of civilisation lies in a speedy transition to a society that is truly sensitive to, in tune with, and respectful of the processes of life. We call this a biosensitive society. It will be a society that promotes health and wellbeing in all sections of the human population and in the ecosystems of the biosphere. This will require big changes in the scale and nature of human activities on Earth.

  • By far the most essential difference between a biosensitive society and that in which we live today will lie in the worldview and priorities of the prevailing culture. In a biosensitive society this culture will embrace a sound understanding of the story of life on Earth and the human place in nature. We call this biounderstanding

  • As an outcome of this shared biounderstanding, the prevailing culture will hold profound respect for the processes of life. Unlike today, the goal of being sensitive to and in tune with these processes will be right at the top of the political and social agenda.

  • This fundamental shift in priorities, in what matters most, will be the key factor in the survival of civilisation.  All the necessary changes in human activities (e.g. energy use) and in societal arrangements (e.g. the economic system) will follow naturally from this seminal cultural transformation.

  • Shared biounderstanding across all parts of society is thus a precondition for the survival of civilisation.